SSF climbs back on board the Money Bus


We were invited to deliver financial literacy workshops on behalf of the Bank of Montreal

“I know what I'm going to save my money for – Hogwarts! It’s £126!”

We’re not sure whether this student was talking about the real Hogwarts or a model. Either way, we love it! (And yes, of course Hogwarts is real).

This admirable saving resolution was made during one of our financial literacy workshops, which took place during March. Designed to promote money skills amongst young people, the workshop series saw a bright blue minibus – nicknamed the ‘Money Bus’ – travelling the country, with SSF staff delivering workshops to around 2,000 students aged between 4 and 12 at schools in Edinburgh, St Helen’s, Newcastle, Cardiff, Purley and Barnet.

We were invited on board (pun intended!) by the Bank of Montreal’s F&C Investment Trust, following the success of the inaugural ‘Money Bus Tour’ which took place in the summer of 2018.

We were really impressed by SSF’s delivery style and wanted to give more young people the opportunity to develop money skills for life by exploring money-related concepts in an engaging and meaningful way,” says Ross Duncton, Managing Director, Head of Marketing & Direct from BMO.

Giving things a suitably Shakespearean twist, we substituted pounds and pence for ducats, and devised workshops tailored for different age groups, exploring key ideas such as earning and spending, saving and investing.

Children in our Early Years workshop ‘earnt’ money through a physical shape-making game, working as a team to make a circle, square and triangle, and collecting three ducats each as a reward. They then split into pairs for a shopping list challenge, choosing items to buy and checking that they had enough in the kitty to pay.

For children, money can be abstract. The activities brought money to life in a tangible way that children could relate too and helped them appreciate how basic maths skills – such as being able to add up accurately – are important for life in the real world.

Older children earnt their ducats by completing a series of Duplo pattern-making challenges. They were then introduced to the idea of a making a budget, before embarking on a shopping challenge where they had to decide which items to buy based on whether they considered them to be ‘wants’ or ‘needs’.

Jennifer Whelan, a teacher at St James’ Catholic High School in Barnet, said, “This activity ignited lively debate among our students. Some groups were tempted by a jet-pack which was on special offer, leading to discussion about the psychology of advertising and how to avoid the tricks of the trade.

As a way to extend children at the top end of the age range, we introduced the concept of investing, with groups coming up with a business idea that they thought would have longevity. One group came up with a hairdressing business, bearing the inventive moniker ‘Curl Up & Dye’. Businesses were floated on the stock market, with students choosing one company to invest in (not their own!). Share prices fluctuated – in this case determined by the throw of a die – with some groups suffering losses. Students were then introduced to the idea of diversification and invited to spread their ducats across different companies in a bid to minimise losses.

After a workshop filled with money-related learning, each student was given a red or blue piggy bank as a fun incentive to save.

Our partnership with the Bank of Montreal represents how we as a charity are adapting to a range of societal needs, showing that creativity is an essential component of learning.

Find out about the workshops SSF offers.

Coram SSF is a cultural education charity that exists to instil curiosity and empathy, aspiration and self-esteem, literacy and teamwork - giving young people the confidence to see that all the world is their stage.

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